A black US citizen is seeking asylum in Canada because he fears police brutality

Land of the free.
Land of the free.
Image: AP/Pat Wellenbach
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

An American citizen is seeking asylum in Canada because he is in “fear of his life” because he is black, Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC, reported recently.

Kyle Lydell Canty, who left the United States from Oregon for Canada last month, argued his case in front of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board last week, in a hearing in Vancouver, and cited the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as examples of the “extermination” of black people in the US, CBC reported. He also testified he had been arrested in Salem, Oregon, for trespassing after spending two hours “talking on the phone and using free Wi-Fi at a bus station,” CBC said. In an interview with CBC, Canty explained:

I came to Canada to claim asylum under the refugee act, because the United States of America is corrupt. They’re consistently killing black people, it’s documented… Honestly, I kept on getting harassed by cops for no reason. False charges, false arrest. I’m not just the only one going through it, all black people in America are going through the same thing.

Canty said he had “several outstanding charges in multiple states for things including jaywalking, issuing threats, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” and that he feared for his life if he returned to the US to face them.

The refugee board member who heard Canty’s case called it “well-prepared” and well argued, CBC reported. That still doesn’t mean Canty’s odds of getting asylum in Canada are good, the AFP reports—the country does not consider US asylum seekers conventional refugees under the UN rules, nor in need of protection. In 2013, of the 69 Americans who applied to Canada for asylum, only three were granted refugee status

To be granted asylum in Canada, a person “must be outside his or her home country and have a well-founded fear of persecution. According to the Geneva Convention, the fear must not only be well-founded, the persecution must also be based on reasons of race, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

Canty isn’t the only black American to seen protection in another country recently. Earlier this year, a group of black Americans asked African governments to grant them asylum to escape the treatment of blacks in the US.

“We experience daily, relentless attacks by the police, suffer high rates of incarceration…not to mention economic, health, and employment disparities for no other reason than being Black in America,” a group called We Want To Go Home says on a petition that has gained over 4,500 signatures. “African Americans…are experiencing what can only be called neoslavery.” Another group, called the Descendants of Africa Repatriation Movement, is trying to generate funding for to go back to Africa.